Photo Workshop

This site contains a visual lens comparison test. This includes comparisons of resolution and distortion on various Canon and other lenses.

Also shown here is a test showing a comparison of images photographed using a tripod with images photographed handheld using the image stabilization function using the Canon 28-135 f3.5-5.6 IS.

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Abbreviations: T.R. = Top Right; B.C. = Bottom Centre; B.L. = Bottom Left

The target that I used was sized to the proportions of 24x36. Three samples of 50x65 pixels were extracted from the full image which I scanned at 2400 ppi, giving me an image size of approximately 2200x2400 pixels. They were taken from the centre, a near edge and a corner. This gives a scanned image of approximately 23MB or approximately 7.48 mega pixels.

A target was used of such a size as to show differences in resolution, a target with minimal enlargement and all lenses would look great, with too much enlargement of the field even the best lens would look bad so the selected target size was a reasonable compromise.

There are some anomalies in the samples where the film plane was not exactly parallel to the target, giving an image with a taper towards the side where the two planes are furthest apart.

Some "waviness", especially in the later tests and using wider lenses was caused by a slight buckling of the paper on the target. (Especially after the target was dropped in the snow a couple of times.) :o)

The sloped lines of text that show in some samples, particularly the corner sample, is caused by lens distortion.

The colours of the samples should be ignored as they were taken outdoors, in snow and with sunny/overcast conditions.

If some of the test results look worse than you might have expected, it is because this amount of enlargement in the "target" was necessary in order to show differences between "average", "good" and "very good" lenses.

Focus on all EF lenses was determined by the camera; using the central sensor on the center of the target.

The tests are intended to give a good comparison but are not purported to be scientifically accurate.

I borrowed the Canon EF70-200L, Tamron 28-105 f2.8, Canon EF300 f4L and Canon EF85 f1.8 from my local camera store, the rest being my own.

Let me know if you find these tests useful, or if you think of some improvements that I should make to either my test methods or the graphic presentation of the tests.


Resolution Comparisons

Lens Test 1 - (92K) has comparisons of the following lenses:

      1. Canon EF300f4L
      2. Canon EF85f1.8
      3. Tamron EF28-105f2.8
      4. Canon EF28-105USM
      5. Canon EF100-300USM
      6. Tamron EF90Macro f2.8

Lens Test 2 - (92K) has comparisons of the following lenses:

      7. Canon EF50f1.8 MkI
      8. Canon EF20-35f3.5-4.5
      9. Tamron EF28-200f3.8-4.5 Super (aspherical)
    10. Canon EF70-200f2.8L
    11. Hexanon 50f1.4
    12. Hexanon 24f2.8
    13. Hexanon 50f1.7

Distortion Comparisons

These small low res pictures will give you a good idea of the relative distortion among these lenses. Note the straight black lines near each outside edge.

Distortion Part 1 - (181K) has comparisons of the following lenses:

      1. Canon EF100-300USM @100mm
      2. Canon EF100-300USM @200mm
      3. Canon EF100-300USM @300mm
      4. Canon EF300f4
      5. Canon EF20-35 @20mm
      6. Canon EF20-35 @28mm
      7. Canon EF20-35 @35mm
Distortion Part 2 - (100K) has comparisons of the following lenses:
      8. Canon EF70-200L @100mm
      9. Canon EF70-200L @200mm
    10. Tamron EF28-200 @100mm
    11. Tamron EF28-200 @200mm
Distortion Part 3 - (131K) has comparisons of the following lenses:
    12. Tamron EF28-105 @28mm
    13. Tamron EF28-105 @50mm
    14. Tamron EF28-105 @105mm
    15. Canon EF28-105 @28mm
    16. Canon EF28-105 @60mm
    17. Canon EF28-105 @105mm
Distortion Part 4 - (157K) has comparisons of the following lenses:
    18. Tamron EF90 Macro
    19. Canon EF85 f1.8
    20. Canon EF50 f1.8
    21. Hexanon 24 f2.8
    22. Hexanon 50 f1.4
    23. Hexanon 50 f1.7

Image Stabilization Lens Comparison Tests

A couple of test shots to see how this lens would fare as a "stand in" macro lens, handheld with 32mm of (Kenko) tube extension, late afternoon light and Elite Chrome 200 film. Also an evening shot in the mountains.

"Macro" IS Images
Rose leaves thumbnail image
Wild rose thumbnail image
Sorbus thumbnail image
Reflections thumbnail image

The Image Stabilization test shows images taken with the Canon 28-135 f3.5-5.6 IS lens.

All photographs on this site are copyright by Buddy du Preez, all rights reserved. For information regarding the use of these photographs please contact Buddy du Preez at

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by Buddy & Hallie du Preez;
all rights reserved